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National League: Raiders 6 Isle of Wight 4

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Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall felt his threadbare squad could upset the Isle of Wight and was proved right at a happy Lee Valley last night.

Marshall had a hand in all six of his side’s goals as they recovered from a slow start, coming from two goals down, to take the league points.

And forward AJ Smith hailed the efforts of the home side, claiming it was fully deserved.

He said: “It was a great win from the lads. We’ve been working so hard and putting on some great performances since our squad was cut to 11 guys, but we kept coming up one or two goals short against the bigger teams when we’d run out of steam in the third.

“We’ve been due a big win and we earned it, especially coming back from 2-0 down after the first period.

“The boys never gave up, never stopped skating and fighting for every puck and in the end we got the points that our recent performances have deserved.”

Wight player-coach Jeremy Cornish opened the scoring with only eight seconds on the clock, then dropped his gloves later in the first period to tussle with Raiders JJ McGrath.

Both men looked on from the penalty box, along with Smith, as the visitors doubled their lead through Nathan Taylor in the 17th minute.

But Marshall began his side’s recovery with the only goal of the middle session, as the hosts dominated the shot count 19-7.

Alex Barker put Wight 3-1 up early in the final frame but Marshall set up Frankie Harvey less than a minute later, than combined with Tom Davis to help Jakub Klima square matters with 9:16 left to play.

Marshall and Billy Phillips claimed assists as Klima put Raiders 4-3 up less than two minutes later, but McGrath’s tripping penalty handed Wight a powerplay.

Klima struck while Raiders were shorthanded, though, to complete his straight hat-trick before Steven Osman replied.

But after Wight removed goalie Matt Colclough for an extra skater, in search of a last-gasp equaliser, Phillips found the empty net to set the seal on a superb win.

Smith added: “There is so much heart and so much talent in that dressing room but being so short-benched every week is going to be a struggle.

“But if teams think we will ever just roll over they are wrong.

“The fans were awesome. They were loud and they were singing and it made Lee Valley start to finally feel a bit like our home rink.”

The two sides meet again in a cup match on the island tonight and Raiders will travel to Ryde in good spirits after such an uplifting triumph.

Scorers, Raiders: Jakub Klima* 3+1 Danny Marshall 1+5 Billy Phillips 1+1 Frankie Harvey 1 Tom Davis 0+2.

Wight: Jeremy Cornish* 1 Nathan Taylor 1 Alex Barker 1 Steven Osman 1 Craig Tribe 0+2 Simon Hobbis 0+1 Richard Facey 0+1 Daniel Pye 0+1 Matthew Vizzari* 0+1.

Shots on goal: Michael Gray (Raiders) 36 Matthew Colclough (Wight, 59:43) 40 Empty net (0:17) 1-1.

Penalty minutes: Raiders 10 Wight 14.

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